Sunday, August 31, 2014

August 30, 2014

So, just as an update for everyone, here is what has been happening.
   On Thursday during class, the travel office called our entire district down. We were confused. Never had anyone called for us over the intercom, let alone our entire district, let alone to the travel office. We awkwardly made our way down to the main building to find the reasoning behind this. We were kind of nervous, actually. We had fears of what this might be.
   We walk into the travel office. No one is in there beside a lady in the back. We stand there for a good fifteen seconds before we are noticed. When she sees us, the worker asks, "Is this the group going to Sweden?" We give the assent and she picks up a piece of paper and comes to address us. "So, they don't have have your visas yet. You're going to stay here for a few more days waiting. They haven't reassigned you yet, so it looks like they expect them to come in at any time. I wouldn't count on it though, I'm sorry."
   So that was Thursday. We were devastated for a good hour. While the news sunk in, class was very quiet. We gradually got back to our normal talkative selves, but we were still a bit gloomy. Staying at the MTC is not exactly how we want to spend our missions. Later, though, we were told to expect temporary reassignment the next day. Nobody in any office thought we were going to have our visas.
   And we didn't. So we go into the travel office yesterday (Friday) to get our temporary missions while we waited for visas. Here's how the district was sectioned off. Eldste Jacobs (he's going to Norway, but didn't get a visa either), Äldste Bradley, and Syster Alldred go to Gilbert, Arizona. Äldste Treat and Äldste Van Alfen go to Washington State, Äldste Smith, Äldste Peterson, and Äldste Hemmingsen go to Ogden, Utah, and Äldste Bouton and I go to Independence Missouri.
   So those are our temporary reassignments. We serve there until the visas come through. We haven't gotten travel plans for those yet, but we'll figure it out.
   I hope you all are well,

Äldste Heiner

P.S. We have no connection to Dear Elder anymore. Last night was our last Dear Elder pick up time, so if you try to send anything through that, we probably won't get it.

Also, as a fun fact, fifteen minutes after we got our reassignments, our visas came through. So we are actually leaving with the same flight plans as before, I just wanted you to experience the drama we had going on. We all got our visas except for Eldste Jacobs, who isn't going to Sweden anyway. So yeah. I'm off to Sweden on Monday.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

August 27, 2014

This here has been a week. In fact, I leave the MTC for SWEDEN in five days.  Time has indeed flown.  I'm so dang excited. The Danish district and the Icelandic district left on Monday, and they were hilarious. It's really kind of quiet around here now. I did get a famous MTC haircut. The blending is a little funny, but check the pictures, you'll see.
   We got our flight plans, so we know the very minute we get to leave this place for the time of our lives. They made Syster Allred the travel leader. It's funny because she has never flown before, she is the only Syster, and she has to deal with eight teenage guys that are finally being let out of a cage. You may want to wish her luck. It's going to be great.  We report to the travel office at 4:35 AM on Monday, then head to the SLC airport.  We fly to Minneapolis, then Amsterdam, then Stockholm, getting there about 9 AM on Tuesday.  Can’t wait.
   Our teaching has been getting better. As we get better at Swedish, we are able to invite and point out the spirit more and more. It's really great. We've been talking in Swedish more often. I would type all this in Swedish, but I don't want to come home, read it, and embarrass myself with how bad I really was at the language. We had TRC with this week. We got to skype this guy named Tobius. He lives in Sweden. I have no idea what he said. It kind of shook my confidence in this language thing. I'll figure it out. When I get to Sweden, I'll be listening to this all day.
   I've been invited to help teach the new missionaries how to begin teaching this evening. I would be super excited for that except that I have to do it in English. I have no idea how to teach in English. If they wanted Swedish, I'm in. But this is going to be rough.
   This week after the Sunday devotional, we watched a movie call "The Life of Thomas S. Monson." It is kind of amazing. If you haven't seen it, you should. It was great.
   Good heavens. I can't really think of anything else to write about. All we do is sit around and study. I guess it's been pretty rainy... I've got some great pictures! There are really no stories behind any of them though. I hope everyone is having a great time... without me... No really. Everyone be awesome. I'll write when I'm in Sweden!
 Äldste Heiner
This is the zone as I will remember it.
Me and Amos.  We've become good friends.
He's cool and British.

Make sure Cameron M sees this one.
Me and the Icies selfie, staring into the sun.
I have an uncle who went to Iceland a long time ago.
A random shot of me and Smith.
The Swedish Flag and the Provo Temple.

An MTC action shot.
Post hair cut mirror selfie.
Photobomb courtesy of  Elder Bradley.
We got our travel plans!
Me and Amos flashing our foreign cash.
Eating a pickle in the residence hall.  Good times.
This one day, every article of clothing we wore
was exactly the same.  Freaky.
This is an exit sign.  

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

August 20, 2014

So.... this week... happened. Things are starting to be very blurry as to when they happened. The days are so close together, they're essentially the same thing. We had more TRC this week. It's really hard talking to those people who know the language. At least they are patient with us, because we are really not that good. Oh! Here's something fun. Äldste Smith finished reading the Swedish-English dictionary. I was impressed, but not even close to being willing to try it myself. We really didn't do much noteworthy things this week. I'm sorry. We sat in classes and just studied. A lot of us are feeling like it's crunch time, we leave for Sweden in a mere eleven days. We feel like we don't really know the language. It's fun though. I feel like I'm already better at expressing myself in Swedish than I ever was in Spanish, and I studied that for four years.
WAIT! WEIGHT! I have to tell the outcome of our week of weight loss (It's a game, by the way. The elders around here call it the Biggest Loser). So, before I came to the MTC, I weighed about 175 lbs. At the weigh in last Saturday, I weighed 169. On this Saturday, I weighed 163. I lost six pounds in one week, and twelve pounds overall. Usually people gain a bunch of weight here, but apparently, I just can't keep any of it. Also, I won. Smith only lost five pounds over the week of our competition. He ate too many brownies. But now that game is over…
On Sunday, we had Jenny Oaks Baker come to talk to us, so that was fun. She didn't really do as much talking as she did playing her violin. She's really good. Kind of really accomplished at playing, apparently. For Tuesday devotional, the General Young Women's President came to talk to us, Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson. She and her husband have served three missions in the Sweden mission, including one stint as the Stockholm Temple President and Matron. So we got a shout out in front of all of every 2000 missionaries attending to devotional.
Also, there was this time this week where we were supposed to be productive and use the computers to help with our language, so we went on Family Search. Both Smith and I thought back and realized that we both had Allred lines, so we wanted to see if any of us were related to Syster Allred. Turns out, Smith and I are related through a guy named Isaac Allred. And here's the fun thing. That is the same common ancestor that we BOTH have with Syster Allred. So now we are all family. On another note, Äldste Hemmingsen and I are related through a guy named Johannes Heiner. So more connections. They're all not even that far back, so we think it's hilarious. I'm sure there are more; those are just the only ones we have checked.
We taught a few lessons this week. We had our best lesson that we ever taught with our brand new investigator. We taught him that if he wanted a strong relationship with God (and he did), he had to pray. You can't get to know someone by just thinking about them. We have to talk to God if we want to know him. So that was fun, we felt the spirit really strong. We taught him another time about the Restoration. It went well. We are having a really great time teaching this “guy”. Every time we talk we can just feel the Holy Spirit so strongly.
Anyway, I'm off to get a famous super short MTC haircut, wish me luck. I'm getting it now so it won't look too bad by the time I get to Sweden. Jag hopar att alla ni ha en underbar dag idag!  Äldste Heiner 
Here I am, right now.  Pre-hair cut.  In my mission shirt.
Oh, I bought this shirt with Sweden and the flag on it.
This is my planner for one day.
Could be any day, really.  They are all so much alike.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

August 13, 2014

We're halfway done with the MTC! In just three weeks, I will be in Sweden! I'm kind of excited, but kind of freaked out. I don't really know how my Swedish stacks up to a native speaker other than not well at all. But other than that, it's going to be crazy!
I was able to go to the temple again this week, we get to go every p-day.  I love it in there. Perfect place to be. On Thursday, we had a thing called TRC. Teaching Resource Center, or something like that. It's where people in Provo come in who speak Swedish and you teach them a lesson like you would teach a member of the Church. It was pretty fun, except there was this nine year old girl correcting my vocabulary. That was humbling. But other than that, it was a pretty normal week. I mean, we had class everyday for six hours plus another three hours for study time. And then when there's nothing else to do, you study some more. My language is improving by leaps and bounds, I can tell you that. Yesterday, for instance, my entire district played Mafia in Swedish. It was fun. Äldste Smith and I are still teaching Johannes, a mock investigator, and he is progressing really well. We also met a new “investigator” the other day that we start teaching in two days. It is going to be fun.
On Saturdays and on Mondays we have service assignments. I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but Smith and I do a lot of mopping on those days. It's fine though. It's only for an hour and a half. A switch in the schedule.
Oh, this is fun, the other day during a morning "study" period, the Danes came down the hall in the residence hall, and ambushed all the Swedes with water bottles. So we retaliated. What occurred could later be described as a water fight. It was vicious. Many casualties.
Other things that happen in the residents, my district has been collecting water bottles so that we could set up a Kubb set. Kubb is a traditional Swedish game, look it up if you want more on that.  It basically is where you throw sticks at other sticks.  There is a real set we use during gym sometimes.  Anyway, we finally had enough water bottles to make a set, so we have adapted the rules so we could play in our hallway with a racket ball.  It’s fun and better than what everyone else was playing (not me, I'm not that stupid), which was affectionately titled "nut-ball." Just think about it, you'll figure that out.
There were some awesome quotes from devotionals this week. I can't really remember who said them all, but here we go: "To know God, we must talk to God," "It's all about not being the Cookie Monster (natural man)," "We must all resist the temptation to be stupid." There were others, but I can't remember them all now. Just know that devotionals are awesome.
Our Dutchies moved out, and we got a new Dutchy district. They're cool. Funny. I like them. We also got two new teachers. One of them is a Sister, except she's been our teacher for a week and I've seen her for a grand total of an hour. But Brother Witworth is cool. He's brand new.
Also, everyone in my room has begun to participate in an activity we have named, "Pillow Talk." We talk about things like our ideal wives, the country's idiotic deficit, and other random stuff.
For the information of all, but mostly my sister Amanda, I have not gained any weight here. In fact, I have lost weight. I have lost a hole in my belt, and Äldste Smith and I have begun a challenge with each other for who can lose the most weight. We started four days ago, but I'll keep you updated. But just as a fun fact, it's been four days, and I've lost three pounds.
Also, I have found my new favorite name. It's a traditional Swedish name. Torbjörn (pronounced Torbyurn). It means "thunder bear." So we have decided that I am Torbjörn, and Smith is Blixtbjörn. That means "lightning bear."  As you can see, we are creating our own entertainment here.

I think that's all I've got. I hope everyone is doing well. If you want to know something, send it through Dear so I can think about it and write about it. Have a good week!

Our MTC group. 
Elder Treat drew this on the white board.
I thought it was pretty funny.
Sorry this isn't a very good picture,
but it is of us playing Kubb in the hallway.
That's me on the end.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

August 6, 2014

So life has kind of hit a stride here at the MTC. We have just about done everything there is to do here, so the days start blending together. Don't get me wrong, the days are still super long and I love every minute of it, but I just don't really know what happened on each day. Last week seems like ages ago, but right after I sent my last note, I was able to go to the temple with the rest of my zone, so that was really cool. I've pretty much decided that if I could somehow get a calling or job to live in the temple, I would love it. I would just stay in the temple all day, every day. It's the best place in the world. So that was the end of last p-day...
On that Thursday, Äldste Smith and I wore our sweaters because it was "Sweater Weather." Which means five degrees cooler, but it was fun. I don't know if I've said this before, but Smith and I coordinate our outfits, so that makes life a little more interesting.
On Friday... you know what? I don't remember if anything happened on Friday... That's weird. We had casual Friday though, so that was fun.  Casual Friday means we loosed our ties, wow.
On Saturday, during soccer, Elder Sakurada shinned Äldste Bouton in the foot, so that left a bruise on his shin. Bouton's foot is a little messed up though... We originally thought it was broken, but they did an xray, and all that happened was the incident destroyed all of his soft tissue. Fun stuff.
On Sunday, we don't have any class, but we still hung out in our classroom. It's where we spend ALL of our time, that little classroom. It's alright, we like it in there, and we keep it clean. Or to be more honest, Syster Allred makes us keep it clean. But since it was fast Sunday, we had mission conference instead of priesthood meeting. All of the MTC mission presidency and their wives talked to us. They had some really cool things to say. One of them quoted a poem Elder Packer once read that I really liked:
     All the water in the world could not sink the smallest ship, even if it tried,
     Unless first, it had got inside.
     Likewise, the world’s worst temptations, even the blackest sin,
     Cannot dream to harm you, unless you let it in.
Or something like that. I really liked it. So then we went to sacrament meeting, and then to our room some more... Then in the evening President Worthen of BYU spoke to us. It was really good. That evening, Äldste Smith and I went to a film of an Elder Holland MTC talk. It was... Amazing. It was the kind of thing my father would have done pretty much anything to see. You can only see it in the MTC, so I guess I'll just send him the notes.
On Monday, we had Tacky Monday! I wore black suit pants with a blue suit coat with a brown belt (with black shoes!) and an orange tie. It was amazing. But seriously. Don't ever do that. It was funny once.  Only once.
Yesterday, we had Tuesday Devotional. Bruce C. Hafen. He was really cool. He talked about how important it is to go to the temple. He also had a pretty funny line in the beginning. He was talking about how there are a ton of girls at the MTC nowadays with the new age change. He told the elders, "If you don't look once, you're not a man. If you look twice, you're not a missionary." It was hilarious. I think that pretty much sums up the week.
Wait! I need to talk about our investigator Lennart! We were teaching him and everything was going great. We got him to read Mormons Bok (that's The Book of Mormon in Swedish) and pray about it, and he started believing in God and we were going to have a great lesson with him that next day... but then he stopped being Lennart and started being Brother Sagers, our teacher. I'm not sure I quite trust this Sagers guy... I'm just kidding. Brother Sagers is really cool. He got off of his mission in March, so he's fresh off of the potato wagon. He teaches us in the afternoon, while Brothers Marchant and Bush teach us in the morning. Now I teach two new investigators, Jonathan (pronounced yanaughtan) and Johannes. Brother Bush is Jonathan, who is a guy from Sweden who is really cool. He has no religious beliefs, but is willing to learn, it seems. Brother Marchant is Johannes. He is from Ghana, but lives in Sweden. He is in Utah for his job training for a year. For McDonald's... We thought that was funny. He seems to just want to know about the church because his wife told him to look into it while he was in Utah. Anyway. All this is in Swedish, so it's a little harder than you might think.  And people pretending to be other people.
I think that's all I got for this week. If you want me to talk about something, let me know. If you want to send me a letter, Dear Elder is a website that will get me a letter that day, so that would be cool. I hope everyone is doing well,

Äldste Heiner
The real map picture.
Casual Friday.
In case you are wondering if Swedish is confusing.
Yeah, a little.
Me and Åldste Smith... sweater weather.
Think we shopped at the same missionary store.